TRINIDAD AND Tobago's Commonwealth Games men's 4x400m relay gold medallist Dwight St Hillaire trusted his teammates Asa Guevara, Machel Cedenio and Jereem "The Dream" Richards to get the job done at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, England on Sunday.
After he produced a scintillating start and laid a strong foundation in the first leg of the final, the 24-year-old sprinter left the rest for his fellow countrymen to complete. The TT quartet went on to secure victory in three minutes 1.29 seconds.
Speaking at Thursday's athlete welcome reception at the Piarco International Airport, St Hillaire was all smiles and held in high regard the golden efforts of the mile relay team, inclusive of Che Lara and Kashief King, who ran in the semi-finals and set up TT's shot in the medal race.
"It's truly an honour to be a part of that team. I know whenever I represent the red, white and black I always give 100 per cent. After how much months and years of practicing, it actually paid off," said St Hillaire.
"Whenever I run, it's just to give my best foot, especially in a relay, just to give them the best leg I could possibly give. That's what I went out and did.
"I'm just thankful to God that I was able to represent to the best of my ability. I trusted the other guys; Asa, Jereem and Cedenio to also give their best and we were duly rewarded for that," he said.
The 4x400m gold capped off TT's six-medal haul at the Games. Richards also retained his men's 200m title, Nicholas Paul captured gold (keirin), silver (sprint) and bronze (1km time trial) while the men's 4x100m team of Jerod Elcock, Eric Harrison Jr, Kion Benjamin and Kyle Greaux earned silver.
Prior to the Commonwealth Games, St Hillaire and several other athletes competed at the World Athletics Championshipsin Oregon, United States. From there, they charted off to Birmingham.
After a hectic season, St Hillaire said rest remains a top priority.
Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe lauded not only the medallists, but the entire TT contingent for a job well done. She also credited the team's officials for properly managing the squad.
"Your victory and performance is a testament to your hard work, your determination, perseverance and grit," said the Minister. "It is important for us to support the athletes on and off the field.
"It's a labour of love. They sacrifice time with their peers, family and they are our there training. The officials and the coaches are out there doing hard work.
"From here, the only way is up. Our athletes are our greatest heroes and can show the world what is the best TT has to offer. We salute you for your commitment," Cudjoe said.
She confirmed the ministry, through its Rewards and Incentives framework, will distribute approximately TT$1.75m to the medallists.
Although Richards and Paul were unable to return home after the recent achievements, Cudjoe said the government intends to host a celebration, in partnership with the Office of the Prime Minister, in September, when all the successful athetes are expected to be in TT.